By Nolan Schmidt
Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Andrew Scott has worked in the health and wellness business for some time, in multiple roles. In each of his positions, he noticed a problem. For every workplace that was committed to the health and well-being of their employees, there was a disproportionate number of employees willing to engage in their health. The common conundrum facing Scott and several other business owners is getting their employees to engage. Engagement is what company culture is built upon, it is also what creates high performing and successful companies.
In the vein of wellness, Scott and Kris Packer had an idea. Rather than taking a broad strokes approach to workplace wellness, why not personalize it? Each employee has specific needs and each is different from the next, why not take that approach?
That is the basis of Flourish Wellness Ecosystem, a digital platform for businesses to use to guide their employees to wellness.
“My background has been health and wellness for over a decade and I have been on the vendor side, so providing a service to a business and doing more traditional wellness like coming into the workplace and doing a steps challenge or the biggest loser competition. However, there was always limited engagement, meaning that the people who wanted to do wellness were the ones that were going to do traditional wellness anyway. Then, I was on the employer side and I’ve been on the research side of it as well. Again, the same conundrum of 20 to 30 percent engagement,” said Scott.
“I challenged the notion of wellness being inside the walls of the building you work in. Not everything can be residing inside the building. So the biggest reason that 70 to 80 percent don’t engage is usually that it doesn’t meet the person’s needs. Rather than it be an exercise or nutrition, someone needs sleep wellness or maybe somebody needs mental health or rest and relaxation. Services that typically aren’t housed within the walls of a building. Again, it’s challenging the notion of why does wellness in the workplace have to be in the workplace. Can we still have the idea of wellness in the workplace that embraces this idea of services outside the workplace as well?”
With the various resources within the Fargo-Moorhead community, Flourish teamed up with them to offer employees multiple avenues to wellness.
“We’re in a community, we’re a community of resources, we’re already in a community where businesses have all of these resources. What if we went to an employee and said there are a ton of resources, you might want to do the steps challenge in the walls, but what do you need to address for your wellness? Because your needs are different from mine and everybody has varying needs. It’s very hard to actually accommodate everybody in the walls of a building,” Scott said. “What if we could provide a solution that states that everyone has their own unique needs and we’ll all go do what we need to do, but at the end of the day, we’re all going to that endpoint and that’s being well. We’re simply connecting those individuals so building awareness of what exists as well as increasing access to the resources that currently exist in the community.”
“Wellness is vital. Wellness is a key business strategy, it’s not a nice to have, it’s a need to have.”Andrew Scott
The traditional approach for employers and people in the wellness field is finding something that works for everyone. With Flourish, employees take an assessment and are guided toward resources that may be of interest to them given their answers. This provides the personal touch that was lacking in previous businesses models in regards to employee wellness.
“Every employee has their own path to their own wellness. With our platform, it really covers that because, with the self-assessment at the beginning, it shows areas they need help in,” said Packer. “Then, we can pinpoint which partners are participating with us and point them in the right direction with that.”
Some of the partners and resources at the employee’s disposal through Flourish are the YMCA, Rehab Authority physical therapy, Glacial Peak Cryotherapy and countless others. It is Scott’s goal to have a resource in each facet of wellness to provide the employees using the ecosystem as much guidance as possible.
“Wellness has traditionally been a really top-down approach, but it’s really like throwing a dart at a dartboard in the dark. It’s hoping you hit it perfectly, but the challenge is pinpointing what everyone needs. What we have on our platform, we have an assessment that people can take that will identify what will probably be of interest for the person. Again, at the end of the day, it’s exposing them to education and tapping into the resources on our platform,” he said. “The important thing about this is that it is an ever-evolving and flexible platform that we’re constantly looking at new wellness partners that are growing in the community. What we tried to do is make sure we had resources in each of the respective domains of well-being.”
As of right now, Flourish has 60 employers interested in using their online database. However, the challenge is that employers have a common notion of what wellness should be. Many believe providing employees with wellness services begins with top-level management. Scott believes the employees should be dictating what wellness services they need, rather than the employer trying to blanket everyone’s needs.
“Rather than it being a top-down approach, which it traditionally has been. Rather than that, what if we had a ground-up movement with the employees?” he said. “Re-educating employers on how their employees differ and how it’s difficult to meet their needs and here is a solution.”
How do health and wellness contribute to a company’s culture, though? According to Scott, wellness is the pulpit of several things that occur in the workplace. With over 50 percent of employees suffering from a chronic condition, it is possible for employees to miss more work. When they miss work, productivity goes down. The trickle-down effect floods into every area of business.
“Wellness is vital. Wellness is a key business strategy, it’s not a nice to have, it’s a need to have,” Scott said. “We’re just starting to see the ramifications of not having wellness in the workplace.”
In that same vein, Scott and Packer point out that well-being is a key factor in employee retention and hiring. With workplaces being more multi-generational, wellness is important to young professionals in deciding where they want to work, according to Scott and Packer. It also influences performance on the job too.
“Wellness is key when people are looking at taking a job and staying with a job. Individuals who engage in wellness services are seven times more likely to be a high performer and more engaged in a workplace,” Scott said. “It’s not just healthcare and blood pressure, but it’s a recruitment, retention and engagement tool these days. Wellness is absolutely vital to that.”
The ultimate goal for Flourish is not one of personal gain for Scott or Packer. It is the successful well-being of employees and employers across the area. With their digital platform, guiding people to the resources they need to be well inside and outside the workplace, they are directly contributing to how a business runs day to day.
“What we always say is that we’re empowering individuals to take control of their health. In this day and age, the issue of diseases on the rise and engagement on the decline, people aren’t happy with their jobs,” Scott said. “I think it’s a prime opportunity to increase the health of our community. If we’re healthy, if you’re employees are healthy, the business does well. The business does well, the community does well.”
Health and wellness have an impact on every area of a person’s life. Flourish wellness is impacting our community outside of the workplace with their revolutionary wellness ecosystem. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to simplify and automate something you like to do from a well-being perspective because we know everybody is going to benefit from it. It’s also being selfishly, unselfish, you will be a better spouse, sibling, neighbor, community member and employee if you’re well.” Scott said.
Flourish Wellness Ecosystem may be a new-age take on health and wellness. However, their system and platform only have room to grow. With the intention of adding more wellness partners along the way, it will not be long until Flourish takes off in our area. Andrew Scott summed up their ultimate goal in fitting fashion and it has little to do with personal or professional gain.
“If we want to improve the well-being of the world, we have to do it one step at a time, but it also has to be a very personalized approach. We’re trying to empower you to try and take control of your health and wherever you need to go with that.”
For more information on being a partner or user of the Flourish Wellness Ecosystem, visit flourish.eco